Book: Lone Shark by Tin Larrickcategories: Book, Police, Future, Hitman, Corruption, Undercover, Movies, Modern Noir, London, 2017, Dystopian, Gangster, Crime Thriller
Tin Larrickabout this book: LONE SHARK is about disgraced ex-cop Jackson Towne, forced to hustle a living in a depression-wracked London circa 2017. Hounded by his past, Jackson's two-bit life takes a no-going-back direction when he takes a contract to murder a corporate whistleblower.
I wouldn't say LONE SHARK wrote itself, but I was driven to write it around 15 years ago. I was in a rock band, you see, harbouring clumsy recycled dreams of stardom.
But when the rhythm guitarist started sleeping with the drummer and the bass player disclosed that he couldn't actually play bass, said dreams evaporated and I found myself in a dead-end nothing job. My only escape from a fairly humdrum existence was the temptation to retreat from it - which I did, by immersing myself in a world of fiction every night in a corner of my flat, writing all night on a borrowed IBM laptop the size of a small fridge, in some ridiculously romantic homage to Ellroy and Hunter Thompson.
The first draft of LONE SHARK was actually entitled THE TAMARISK FACTION (another homage, this time to Robert Ludlum), and it weighed in at a fairly hefty 250,000 words. It featured a cat-and-mouse plot with a highly-strung detective pursuing a psychotic, movie-obsessed serial killer through the mean streets of a totally made-up city. The manuscript was so massive you could have dropped it through a car windscreen. It was also totally unreadable.
Two years later, I cut the detective from the story, halved the length of the manuscript and made the killer the first-person narrator. This had the twin effect of trying to force the reader to empathise with a murderous antihero; it also introduced an unexpected comic element to the narrative. Neither worked particularly well, and, when three agents simultaneously got very excited on receipt of the first three chapters only to change their minds once they'd read it all, I chucked it in the proverbial drawer and went off to get a proper job. No matter, I thought - the finished product might not have cut the mustard, but the very act of writing and immersing myself in another world had kept me amused and away from an otherwise crushingly bleak existence.
I never forgot about it, though, and in 2008 the global economic crash prompted a reawakening of some ideas. Maybe financial misery could form an interesting backdrop to the story? And even if it didn't, it nevertheless gave me the idea for the play-on-words title.
I revisited the book, and realised it was salvageable. I changed the setting to London, introduced the ex-cop element and set it in the future - if only by a few years (I wanted to keep this fairly light-touch - the minute you mention something is set in the future people tend to assume it's science-fiction - which this isn't).
With a lot of work, encouragement and the help of a most excellent graphic artist to do the cover, I set about making use of the brave new world of independent ebook self-publishing, and released LONE SHARK to the world in March 2013.
On the surface of it, I would call LONE SHARK a quasi-dystopian, modern-noir, cop/gangster psycho-thriller. That doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, but it's as close as I can get while remaining faithful to labels and tagdom. It's a crime thriller, essentially, but there are some elements that I think make it stand out. The sardonic first-person narration, for one (having toned it down from the 2000 version). The 2017 setting and the fun I had predicting changes, for another (such as the increased legal drinking ages, staggered according to strength). And the psychological element, for yet another. There are some little touches here and there which I really like - particularly around the dialogue - which I think would not have featured had the book not taken a long time to write.
It's a personal book on a number of levels - some of which might come through, some of which might remain forever hidden. If you like crime, noir and gangsters then you might like this. If you like black humour, you might like this. If you like disappearing inside yourself, then you might like this.
• "I loved the pace and imagery of this story set in the not too distant 2017, it's scary and unfortunately with current events it's a bit too believable."
• "This is a great fast paced and draining read as the action moves up a gear on countless occasions."
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